Nintendo started out as a small Japanese company, founded by Mr. Yaumachi in 1889. The company produced cards used to play various games. These NIntendo cards were all handmade, and soon became very popular. Mr. Yaumachi eventually hired help to assist him in making these cards in order to keep up with the demand. Thus, a thriving "gaming" company was born.
Nintendo had ups and down through the years, primarily as a toy company prior to the video game boom. They became a house hold name around the world with the launch and success of the NIntendo Entertainment System, which reached the U.S. in 1985.
Nintendo has managed to attract key developers and game designers, producing an unprecedented string of hits that continues to this day. The Mario series is the best selling video game franchise of all time. Nintendo also owns 53% of the game studio Game Freak (makers of the Pokemon series). Pokemon is the 2nd best selling game franchise of all-time.
Over the years Nintendo has produced many memorable games, as well as home consoles and handhelds.